Microneedling: Beware, It Can Seriously Mess With Your Skin

Microneedling: Beware, It Can Seriously Mess With Your Skin

Microneedling punctures your skin and undermines the protective barrier,
causing sudden changes in the structure of your skin that it then has to repair.

Lately, it seems that everyone is turning to microneedling, and who can blame them?

Just look online, and it is apparently the answer to all of your skin-related woes – and the hottest trend in beauty right now.

Scare-mongering is not what this article is about – nor my philosophy, but as with all things in life, there are risks associated with this treatment.

I have been inundated with emails from readers which you can read below, and many clients have been referred to me, who have been both physically and psychologically scarred as a result of this treatment, so I really wanted to address this treatment.

For those who are considering or have recently undergone needling treatment, the article derma rolling ingredients into your skin, discusses what you should be using on your skin pre, during, and post-treatment.

The misconceptions

They Say: Microneedling is a collagen-stimulating treatment that uses needles to injure the skin; this stimulates collagen and elastin production, resulting in improved skin texture, pores, fine lines, and more.

Naked Chemist Truth: Microneedling tears through the epidermis – the top layer of the skin – creating tiny puncture marks which play havoc with your skin’s natural defence mechanisms, which have to work hard to repair these tiny micro-tears through collagen induction. This causes a whole host of skin conditions.
It does not tighten your skin; it swells your skin: You must understand the concept, ‘needling promotes skin collagen’. Because you’re temporarily injuring your skin, the tightening effect is plump, swollen skin.
It does not create a glowing complexion: That ‘lit-from-within’ glow is a result of the inflammation it triggers, and as I believe inflammation is at the source of premature ageing, it is a big no-no in my book.

This is a serious procedure.

At any depth, even a 0.2mm puncture can cause inflammatory responses that lead to problems. Not only that, but you are effectively injecting active serums at a depth where serums are not meant to go! Not everyone should needle, as you can cause irreparable harm.

Bottom line: If your skin is impaired, it requires a super-healthy skin response, and if your skin is stressed at all, you are almost certainly at risk of damage.

Testimonials

Clemmy from London wrote: “The microneedling felt like it shredded my skin beneath the surface, my once perfect skin is ruined and I feel like I could cry, it has lost all firmness and support. I know it has been structurally damaged. I’ve had such a bad reaction it flared up. It was awful. I looked grazed all over I didn’t want to leave the house for ages after 6 months it is only just recovering.”

Nancy from Australia wrote: “The next photo is the day of the microneedling, you can see my face is very swollen and I have scratch-like marks on my face, I was shaking during the procedure, I should have known something was wrong then. I was told to do a course of peels to get rid of the lines and this sent my skin into inflammation mode. Today my skin has tiny holes and lines in it. With your help, it has been slowly repairing, but it has been a long road.”

Quick side notes: For this reason, I recommend avoiding peels, lasers, or active topicals to try to reverse the damage done. Instead, work to rebuild the barrier and balance the delicate micro-flora with skin-identical ingredients that are missing, bringing the pH of your skin back into balance holistically, which equates to healthy skin.

Angela, a client, experienced the following: “I am 43 and had one session of microneedling. My face became inflamed and I have been battling severe facial burning ever since. My previously smooth skin is scarred all over with lines, huge pores, and a strange texture. I have been to a few dermatologists who have no idea what to do, it severely damaged my lipid barrier. Your advice and skincare are helping to rebuild my barrier I can’t thank you enough.”

Marian from the USA wrote: “Micro rolling seriously destroyed my skin. It left bumps and holes and requires total resurfacing, which I am scared to have. It has dried out my skin and given me lines I did not previously have, on top of the bumps and holes. In short, skin needling is UNSAFE.”

Jen from Australia wrote: “After having numerous tests (had to go back to the hospital a second time because they didn’t take enough blood the first time) the blood test results were normal so no autoimmune disorders which are good. I have had 25 pages of blood test results as my dermatologist was very thorough and he has figured out what the needling has done to my skin. He believes I have solid facial edema, very rare. I’m now on roaccutane & may need to be on it for 1-2 years, although my skin is responding this will be a very long battle to get rid of this. I’m completely shattered. I would NEVER recommend micro needling to anyone, in fact, I warn all my friends about it so they never suffer the way I am suffering. Your Bio lipid has been a lifesaver I refer to it as liquid gold.”

For those of you who commented, thank you for sharing, and I really hope together we can rebuild the health of your skin through a well-thought-out skincare and supplementation regime. Hopefully, this article will also help others who are contemplating this procedure.

If you are unfortunate enough to have suffered a serious reaction, let’s take a look at the problems that can go wrong and why. That way, you will be able to connect the dots about what you can do to repair your skin.

Do not treat your skin with microneedling if you have the following, ever

  • sunburn
  • diabetes
  • keloid scarring
  • cigarette smoker
  • prior Roaccutane user
  • signs of active infection
  • sensitive or impaired skin
  • eczema or dermatitis sufferers
  • very dark or unstable skin type
  • 1, 2, or 3 on the Fitzpatrick scale
  • autoimmune problems of the skin, such as Lupus
  • if you have had a topical treatment (such as peels or laser) in the last 12 weeks

In a nutshell, anything that will affect your skin’s natural healing ability.

You should absolutely not undergo this treatment on skin that has active inflamed acne, rosacea, or eczema, for further reading around this subject, the article skin needling, looks at the genuine side effects of causing trauma and wounds to your skin.

Microneedling disrupts the protective barrier and increases the penetration of active ingredients into your skin. I appreciate this may sound counter-intuitive because needling is all about better product penetration, but when active ingredients go deeper into the skin, the risk of irritation goes up.

Side effects, contraindications, and complications

Whilst there are many general side effects of derma rolling – including bleeding, slight bruising, redness, dryness, and skin flakiness – some may experience more severe side effects such as permanent scarring, indentations in the skin, or hyper and hypo-pigmentary changes in the skin. Quite, why some people have adverse reactions and others don’t, is still unknown.

Infection: It doesn’t always look the way you think, such as with swelling, pus, and redness. Some infections can appear a lot more subtle, where the skin stays irritated and doesn’t heal. What is happening here is that your body’s immune system is holding the offending bacteria, fungus, or virus in partial check, but isn’t strong enough to eliminate it – so inflammation bubbles away under the surface.
Allergic or irritant reactions: These can range from barely visible to extreme ongoing pain and itching. This is not normal; pain associated with this treatment should be temporary and last no longer than a day.
Redness and texture changes: These changes are common, as treatment plumps the skin, increasing blood flow and collagen, but should reduce in a few days.

Treatment for impaired skin

A big question I’m often asked is, will my skin ever return to normal?

You can heal your skin once it has been damaged by facial needling, but how long it takes depends on the amount of damage done. From experience in my own clinic, some people may heal in between 6 to 12 weeks in line with cellular turnover. Sadly, for others, it can take a couple of years – but with the correct treatment protocol and effective ingredients, it is achievable.

You require a three-pronged, holistic approach.
Employ a consistent skincare regime with gentle topicals that are barrier repairing – nothing too active, as that will inflame the skin further.

Use a high molecular weight hyaluronic acid such as H2O Hydrating Complex, to keep your skin’s tissues hydrated. As discussed above, this treatment protocol you can find in the article – derma rolling ingredients into your skin.

DNA contains copper peptides that help to rebuild fragile skin. Bio-lipid and Fortify are all specifically designed to rebuild the barrier function and replenish skin-identical ingredients that are missing as a result of harsh treatments.

Treatment for complications after microneedling

  • keep copies of records and take before and after photos
  • where the risk of infection may be present, ask for bacterial culture or swab to be done on your skin
  • a small biopsy can be carried out for “tissue culture” to look for deeper or unusual bacteria or other organisms
  • if there is any question of skin allergy, especially if a lot of chemicals were micro needled into your skin, an allergist may be able to help
  • if you’re concerned about infectious disease, or difficult or unusual infections in your skin, consult a doctor
  • if you have any hormonal or other issues affecting your healing, an endocrinologist may be able to help you

Conclusion

The bottom line. Be careful with how you treat your skin; you have a responsibility to take care of your primary organ that protects you every second of your life.

If all of this does sound alarming, but you still want to treat your skin with microneedling, below is my checklist on things you should consider before undergoing the treatment:

  • know your skin type and where on the Fitzgerald scale it fits into
  • do your research, and ensure your practitioner has many years of experience and understands micro-needling treatment at a technical level
  • do consider the type of machine used – to date we see fewer complaints from those who have been treated with a derma pen
  • do listen to your skin! We are all metabolically different. If you feel your skin is compromised, don’t embark on any invasive treatment, not just facial needling
  • ensure you get a thorough consultation, and that your practitioner discusses the post-treatment protocol with you
  • do make sure you take close-up photos of your skin beforehand; if the practitioner involved decides to try and deny responsibility, you will have proof
  • do be consistent with treatments and use quality products, to repair and protect your skin – remember less is best
  • don’t use a combination of treatments coupled with an energy-based device, as there is also the risk of burns to consider
  • your practitioner must be really well trained on their device, we have seen clients over the years who’ve sustained iatrogenic injuries, which have resulted in scarring after devices have been dragged across the skin

References:

https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/iplandlaserdamagesupport/please-help-me-if-you-can-post-dermaroller-problem-t1575.html
http://bellusmedical.com/3-steps-to-prepare-your-patient-for-a-microneedling-procedure/
https://www.acne.org/forums/topic/316794-a-warning-about-dermarollers/

264 thoughts on “Microneedling: Beware, It Can Seriously Mess With Your Skin

  1. Katherine says:

    Hello. I attempted microneedling about a week and a half ago above my eyelids as I was seeing some slight wrinkles beginning to form. It seems this was a huge mistake as now the skin above my eyes is way more wrinkly than it was before, and I’m only 28! These lines have seemingly appeared out of nowhere, making me look much older and I’m really having a hard time coping with it, uncertain whether there’s hope it will improve. I’ve been eating tons of grapes and drinking loads of water and generally trying to maintain a healthy diet. My dermatologist prescribed me a strong retinol a year ago which she did not inform me isn’t suited for use above the eyes, so I’m wondering if that’s contributed to the fast deterioration of the tightness of the skin above my eyes, and I have been instead using tea tree oil, chamomile and aquaphor on the skin above my eyes. If you have any words of advice I would really appreciate it! This situation has quickly worsened and it seems unnatural to be dealing with such severe symptoms of aging at 28, so I’m struggling. Thank you for your time!

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Thank you for reaching out. We work a lot with issues from microneedling in the clinic and your situation is not uncommon.

      In our clinic we are seeing some really great results with restructuring the skin with Fortify barrier repair cream and Bio lipid skin shot, both of these contain skin identical ingredients that will replenish your skin and repair your barrier. Ceramide barrier repair balm is also fantastic, especially to help with roughness.

      under no circumstances should you be using tea tree on your face neat and at this stage no strong actives like retinol. Yours in skin health Samantha

      So the these are the top three.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you so much for addressing this issue! I have had microneedling done twice to try and help texture changes in my skin (once at a dermatologist’s office without PRP and the 2nd time at my naturopath’s office with PRP). After the 1st treatment, I called my dermatologist’s office because I was concerned that the procedure had caused more pock marks in my skin. The showed me the before and after pictures and said that those marks were already there and that consistent microneedling is what I need to resurface my skin. Every derm that I have seen since has said that microneedling is the answer to everything. I have felt like a crazy person until reading your article! Thank you again for shedding light on this!

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Elizabeth
      Thankyou for reaching out, I have no ide why dermatologists don’t see the adverse effects from microneedling? It is beyond me, we get probably upwards of ten emails a day with people telling us about their skin concerns from microneedling. Your skin is the largest organ on your body so listen to your skin and look after it carefully, its the only one you have after all. good luck! Samantha

  3. Rachel Frampton says:

    My sister would like to try micro-needling because she heard that this may help get rid of her wrinkles and fine lines. Well, thank you for clarifying here I appreciate that you shared this information.

  4. Sammy says:

    I got an RF micro needling done 3 weeks ago (morpheus 8) and it has left me with coming and going redness and grid mark bumps, itchiness. 2 days after the treatment I swelled up to the point I was not recognizeable. Ive been to two dermatologists and they put me on antibiotics/steroids. It has gone down a bit but today I am still dealing with large bumps and redness that im scared may come back when I stop taking medication.. My skin feels like it is not healing. I can only use Cetaphil cleanser and lotion everything else irritates. I do not know what to do at this point feel like my skin is ruined.

    Any recommendations? What are some possible options for treatment if we do have granulosum infection or any type of infection from this type of facial? Throughout my search for understanding what has happened to my skin this has been the closet answer because this is such a new beauty trend that should not be allowed!. So thank you so much for your blog/website.

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Sammy Less is best in terms of topicals only pure grade hylaironic acid like H20 initially and book in to see a dermatologist who is sympathet ic to adverse micro needling treatments, as believe it or not, not every dermatologist is and specify a biopsy if your skin does no improve.

  5. Felicia Senior says:

    I had microneedling and factora from needing done also and I really think the damage has become irreversible. My skin looks ok sometimes and other times it’s looks really bad. It seems as if it changes when I sit down or lay down like it has stretched out my skin and it very depressing. I’m trying to figure out what I need to do as well.

  6. Devestated says:

    I had microneedling done the times under my eyes (lower eyelids) for a year ago, and my skin looks teerible. I have so mutch wrinkles and dry skin. The nurse says that microoneedling cant damage the skin, but I am a living proof that the skin under the eye collapsed. Did unfortunlly dont take picture bedore my session because I didnt know it could harm the skin. What do you recomand using under the eye? I was also pregnant when I took the prosedures.

  7. Connie says:

    i used a microneedling roller at home- used the large one, now i have scars the size of the roller on my forehead, what can i do for them to heal and go away???

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Connie. Thank you for reaching out and sorry to hear about your skin concerned. use products that replenish with skin-identical ingredients like Fortify or try an anti scar repairing formula like Bio lipid, in saying that it depends how old the track marks are if they have atrophied it will be to late to completely reverse them. Samantha

  8. Jill edonick says:

    Hello I have a lot of pits and nicks from having needling done 1 year ago. Will the lift wand frequency help to rebuild the cells or does that damage too!

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi, Jill thank you for reaching out. Jill, we don’t use this treatment and certainly have not used it on anyone who has had pitting from microneedling-although we have seen this presented on the skin and is difficult to reverse. Sadly at this time we would not feel confident commenting on this treatment at this time.

  9. Michel says:

    Hello. What would you recommend to heal the scalp after 1.5m 12pin dermastamp was used aggressively, once weekly for 3 months? It has been 8 months post using the device. A lot of healing has already taken place, Any advice to continue the healing?

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Michael I’m apologise as we don’t deal with hair care products per se. I have heard that sulphur is great and maybe bio lipid as a hair oil form our range? Wish I could be more help Samantha

  10. carol says:

    i had some good treatments with microneedling,but i went back and there was a different person treating me ,,this time a doctor ,he was very aggressive ,i figured he knew best anyways he went 2,5 deep ,and didnt glide or roll the device ,he would just shock me by touching the skin and lifting the device ,,my skin looks horrible now im livid and dont know what to do i have ridges and pits and dents especially on my nose it looks raw,,,and uneven ,,ive always looked great ,,what can i do thank you carol ,,,

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Stacy. We can’t speak for every skin specialist, just do your research really well, and manage your own treatment plan and please read our latest article on products to use. Good luck Samantha

      • Stacy says:

        So is it Norma to have a little discomfort 2 weeks after getting it done they used 0.5 and 1.0mm needles. My face just feels a little tight around my cheek areas. Almost like how it used to feel when I washed my face it would be sore until I put cream on it. Is it maybe just dried out and very sensitive. I had a mask on the yest and afterwards my face was stinging and a little red so obv very sensitive the now.

          • Stacy says:

            Hi Samatha, where about are you I am sure you are in America and I am in Scotland 😢 my skin just feels irrated it was okay yest after I had honey on it all day the day before but today it’s a little irrated again. If I have swelling in the under layers. What can I do to help it? Is there certain products you can suggest for me to order that might help repair it. My skin looks okay on the outside at the moment. May a couple of little puncture holes but they could of been there ready and be pores. U don’t actually study your fave that much until u think you’ve done damage to it. Thank you

          • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

            Hi Stacy. We are based in New Zealand in terms of your skin swelling and inflammation can be occurring under the skin for a long period of time without you actually realizing until it is too late. I would get a biopsy to ensure nothing sinister is going on to ensure you don’t have a granulose infection, in terms of products, Bio lipid, and Fortify is a great place to start, and DNA is going to help re-densify your skin. Good luck and please reach out if you have more questions Samantha

          • Stacy says:

            Hi Samatha

            I have ordered a few products that is suggested.
            My face has been okay for the last week or so u till I wore a face mask on Monday now it’s sore again and when I think about it it was after I wore a face mask the last time it got sore as well. I am wondering if the micro-needling has Weekend my skin or something that now all of a sudden the face coverings are irritating my skin. Does it sound like it’s more the outside of my skim rather than inside. I am annoyed as I had just had Covid before I got it done and it says not to get it if your skin is stressed. I can’t seem to find anyone near me who is a dermatologist will the doctor do a biopsy? Is there another way to see if you have an infection underneath or not? Will a biopsy leave a scar on my face? I am hoping it’s more the outer layer that needs repaired as it seems to be after wearing the masks that it’s getting sore again. I don’t wear them often so notice now that’s what’s is causing it

      • Stacy says:

        I had it done 2 weeks ago it was sore for a couple of days then flaked a bit. My skin has been a little tight but it started getting a bit sore 3 days ago and then on the Monday my cheeks went really red which I don’t normally get, I had been out all day and it was a little cold but then since then the redness has went away but it’s still sore just feels irritated like it’s really dry it’s making it tight and sore. Can this be a normal part of the healing from it. I don’t thinK I used the right aftercare as I wasn’t giving any to use so out a sunscreen on it that possibly could of irrated it just weird it’s taking almost 2 weeks to come out like this. Is there anything I can do to help it or product I can buy to help repair any damage that’s maybe been caused.

          • Stacy says:

            Thank you. My face isn’t/wasn’t swollen and isn’t that bad now. I think it’s been set of from the face masks we have to wear now as it settled down and then a few days later when I wore a mask again it went red and really sore again. My face has been okay but started feeling a bit tight like it’s really dry the last few days but the cold weather has started now. Where would I get a biopsy and what does it involve? I will order the products you have suggested just in case to help it repair. If there was anything going on underneath what is it that they would do to help it. Do you think I should still get it done even tho it’s been okay mostly and I think it’s more sensitive now so when irrated by masks etc is when it’s a little sore. Thanks

          • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

            Hi Stacy

            I think as your face is not swollen, just leave it for a couple of weeks to see if things settle down. I have included a sample of my ceramics balm and also my exfoliator (not yet marketed). Once you receive the products please reach out to me to discuss layering and to see how your skin is at that point. My email is samanthamiller70@hotmail.com.

  11. Rana says:

    Hello Samantha,

    Two weeks ago I had microneedling done. It left me with vertical striations running down my inner cheek (closest to the nose) down to my mouth, and horizontal striations around my mouth. Also, it left lines in groups of three running horizontally across my forehead. Lastly, my complexion has yet to recover. I used to have a bright olive complexion but now my entire face has a red/pinkish undertone.

    I thought I was doing myself justice by going to a medical esthetician with 20yrs of experience at a large derm/plastic surgery office. Sadly that was not the case. I’m hoping to get any advice you might have to help repair my skin. I’m 33 and before microneedling did not look my age, no fine lines, no wrinkles, bright complexion. I took great care of my skin and can’t believe I fell for the hype of microneedling. Please help!!!

    Thank you
    Rana
    Arizona, USA

  12. Tina says:

    I had microneeing done at a depth of .50mm 2 weeks ago. This was my first time trying this procedure and I typically do not have reactive skin to anything. 2 weeks later and I am still battling flushing of the k
    skin. So me days it looks better then other and then ktbdf days my cheeks and nose become bright red. I went back to the dermatologist who put me on Desodine 2x a day for three weeks diagnosing me with irritant contact dermatitis. After the first couple days I thought it calmed down a bit, but now feel like it is still flush in places and when I get stressed it really flares up. I have also been battling sore and tired eyes, headaches and sinus like pressure. Could there be some thing else going on besides dermatitis and can desonide destroy the repairing process. I am currently not able to use any other facial products other then a gentle cleanser. Please help!!!

      • Stacy says:

        Is this infection treatable sounds like I might have this please tell me it doesn’t leave scarring? I went to a beautician so I don’t think they can do a biopsy?

          • kristina says:

            I am LITERALLY dealing with the exact same thing and dermatologist put me on desodine as well…just weaning off it and it appears to be acting up again.

          • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

            Hi Kristina
            So sorry to hear about your skin, but equally it’s great you acted fast and sought out the help of a dermatologist. Just be wanted not all dermatologists believe that needling compromises your skin, so if you are not happy with the answers this derm gives you keep searching until you find one and ask for a biopsy if you feel you need it. Samantha

      • Kristina says:

        If it is that, is there a curable treatment for this?? I have a follow up appt with the dermatologist on Wed, but just looking for any comfort right now.

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